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Computer freezes with literally everything I throw at it

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January 7, 2011 6:56:27 AM

I've been messing with this on and off for about two weeks now. I've searched this and other forums for advice and I still can't figure it out.

So here's the problem: My computer started freezing randomly on the desktop after about 3 minutes of use, and now I can't even get past the windows splash screen. System repair can't repair it, and whenever I try to reinstall windows 7 from scratch it freezes during the process. I got it to almost finish a few times, but then it freezes after it has to reboot to finalize setup. This brings me to a screen that basically says "sorry, windows didn't install correctly. Please restart so it can fix it." I do just that, but it keeps looping me around into the same message.

I downloaded the ultimate boot cd and tried to run three of the memtest, but that freezes as well. I've also taken out all 4 sticks of memory and put them in one at a time into the first memory slot , and THEN redid the memtest, but it still freezes.

I downloaded seatools dos and did tests on my hard drive. The short test and smart test work fine and says my hard drive is okay. The long test freezes. All the hard drive tests on the ultimate boot cd also freeze. I bought a hard drive docking station and put my desktop's hard drive into it and connected it to my laptop via esata. i was able to transfer all my desktop files and reinstall windows 7 onto it. I also booted my laptop from my desktop har ddrive and it seemed to work okay.

Lastly, I downloaded ubuntu and booted the os through the cd. Computer worked fine for about 10 minutes and then froze.

I have a huge heaksink on my cpu, so I dont think its overheating (When I first got it, it lowered cpu temp to ~20 C). I've also never had any problems with my graphics card overheating.

I'm not exactly sure what the problem is, but it may not be completely random. I recently took my desktop 800 miles round trip to a friends house to do some tests on his computer. Basically, what I did was disconnect his hard drive from his desktop and plugged it into mine. Worked fine. Then I disconnected his hard drive from my computer and reconnected mine and left, without testing it.

My system is about 2.5 years old and I havent had and problems with it in the past. My computer's specs are: 4gb ram, 1 tb seagate harddrive, xfx geforce 9800gtx, msi motherboard, core 2 quad cpu, msi sound card, windows 7 64-bit.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
January 7, 2011 8:50:31 AM

Sounds like either a failing PSU or MB. You didn't list your PSU so that's probably a bad sign.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 7, 2011 12:15:19 PM

Overheating would cause this. You never mentioned temps. Why not? All you have to do is check temps with Coretemp. Sounds like your heatsink came loose in the move and needs to be re-attached.

Otherwise, sounds like a memory issue to me, maybe incorrect voltage.
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January 7, 2011 12:41:12 PM

Sounds like you might want to check your cpu cooler since you traveled 800 miles and it may have stressed areas of your mobo from possibly 'jostling around in transit vid card too.Since you did mention you have a huge heatsink.
looking for any hairline cracks or indications of stress would not hurt to reinstall. reset the vid card as well.

Again check your temps cpu & system temps NB temps ?

you may also want to check your bios info memory timings & maybe clear and start with defaults & see if your live cd's run without fail.

Continue to evaluate the mobo temps bios and memory might as well check the case fans as well as gpu cooler

What is your PSU ? wattage - brand ?

PSU may need to be replaced.
hope this helps.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
January 7, 2011 4:23:38 PM

I missed the part where you said that your problems started after your road trip. Well, you actually never said that but if that's the case then the others are right to suspect the cooler first.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2011 10:13:32 PM

Proximon said:
I missed the part where you said that your problems started after your road trip. Well, you actually never said that but if that's the case then the others are right to suspect the cooler first.




Quote:
I recently took my desktop 800 miles round trip to a friends house to do some tests on his computer.


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January 8, 2011 11:14:42 PM

I agree with everyone else. It's most likely a temp issue. Get some new thermal paste, (I recommend artic silver 5, but thats me personally, you can get it at radio shack now) take off your HSF, clean it, make sure the mounts are all good and snug with the motherboard and put it back on. If it's none of that then you should look at making sure the mobo didn't get damaged during your travels, it makes no logical sense to me, but you already covered every other base. Good luck.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
January 9, 2011 3:52:58 AM

Yes he said he had issues and that he recently took a trip... I did not see where he said his issues started AFTER the trip though :)  Still, I'm not saying your assumptions are wrong. I'm sure I'm just too literal.
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January 9, 2011 8:32:32 AM

Sorry for such a late reply guys. Okay, so I removed my video card, sound card, memory and heatsink and checked for cracks. I didn't see any (although I could be bad at this) so I put everything back all snug like.

I checked my bios for cpu temp which was 33 C and my system temp which was 42 C. The temp was checked after I ran my computer and it froze (this time it froze as I was installing ubuntu, so it was on for a while).

rrplay suggested to see if the live cd works, but I'm not sure what hes referring to. I'm also not familiar with checking memory timings, so I wouldn't even know what to look for, BUT I did reset my bios settings to "fail safe default settings."

Good intuition proximon... yes I have a fairly cheap PSU. Its a 585w that came with the case, all for $70. Its brand name is X-Power 585. How can I distinguish between a failing PSU or MB? I hope its the psu, but with my luck its prob the MB.

One last thing. I'm not sure how much this helps, but it does seem like I am able to get more things done after my computer has been turned off for a while. Keep in mind that I haven't seen my actual windows desktop in a couple of weeks due to improper installations of Windows 7, but I am able to get through more of the installation process after the computer has been off overnight. After the first freeze, the freezing just seems to get worse and faster.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 9, 2011 2:56:26 PM

PSUs eventually age, and can rarely be counted on to run at 80-90% of capacity forever.....; I'd start there, much easier than a new MB....and if the new PSU does not help, everyone needs a spare anyway. :) 
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January 9, 2011 8:16:38 PM

The fastest and easiest way to know for sure if its your PSU is to just put in a new one. If you have another one try using that, if not, purchase a new one. Tom's had a really good article a few months ago about PSU's and the best brands and such. I'de check that out and get a new one. If you get a new PSU and your problem is still there then you can try returning the new PSU. PSU's overheat pretty easily since they are pretty complex in how they work.
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January 11, 2011 12:06:16 PM

theniteshadow3 said:
Sorry for such a late reply guys. Okay, so I removed my video card, sound card, memory and heatsink and checked for cracks. I didn't see any (although I could be bad at this) so I put everything back all snug like.

I checked my bios for cpu temp which was 33 C and my system temp which was 42 C. The temp was checked after I ran my computer and it froze (this time it froze as I was installing ubuntu, so it was on for a while).

rrplay suggested to see if the live cd works, but I'm not sure what hes referring to. I'm also not familiar with checking memory timings, so I wouldn't even know what to look for, BUT I did reset my bios settings to "fail safe default settings."

Good intuition proximon... yes I have a fairly cheap PSU. Its a 585w that came with the case, all for $70. Its brand name is X-Power 585. How can I distinguish between a failing PSU or MB? I hope its the psu, but with my luck its prob the MB.

One last thing. I'm not sure how much this helps, but it does seem like I am able to get more things done after my computer has been turned off for a while. Keep in mind that I haven't seen my actual windows desktop in a couple of weeks due to improper installations of Windows 7, but I am able to get through more of the installation process after the computer has been off overnight. After the first freeze, the freezing just seems to get worse and faster.



sorry about getting back to this thread a bit late

you do know what a 'live cd ' you were installing Ubuntu or linux distro with live cd
as long as you are satisfied with you CPU installation and mobo inspection gpu socket etc you may be able to leave out the mobo
you case temps look OK and you did reset the bios .
...additional note but prob does not apply in this situation ..sometimes when troubleshooting mobos and bios ..don't forget the CMOS battery ! yep replacing that can fix things but likely not in this case

and thanks for mentioning that you were unable it install Windows ...so we know it's not a win.sys file corruption
If you do plan to dual-boot Windows and Ubuntu ...much easier to install Windows 1st

It really looks after all this is that you need to replace that PSU look for a quality name brand with a 80+ rating with at least 600W ..plenty of reviews here at Tom's a 750 W 80+PSU will serve you a bit better in the long run,.
modular cabling neater cable management but a bit higher cost.
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